by Corrina Kane, Head of Product Marketing

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”  – The Red Queen to Alice, Through the Looking Glass

Last week was a first for healthcare in the UK, with the launch of our Care Pathway Marketplace. As a market-led software company we are relentless when it comes to understanding underlying issues in the healthcare system, and using our care pathway expertise to support providers in delivering measurable, predictable and controlled care.

So what’s the problem? It’s entirely uncontroversial that care pathways are a good thing for patients, providers and payers alike. Unfortunately, like most things in healthcare, efficiency in design, development and scale across the ecosystem is a struggle. Time and again we hear that healthcare executives are running so hard just to stay in the same place, it’s seen as a luxury to have the time and space to step back and contemplate. To take a breath, lift your head, see what others are doing and what you can learn.

At the “unsustainable” Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MMHSCT), which just days ago announced  it’s to be taken over by a neighbouring Trust, I had the fortune of working with some incredibly smart and dedicated physicians and service managers. Spread over 4 locations, each with their own distinct and naturally evolved pathways, your patient journey is determined purely by GP referral, usually based on proximity. The classic postcode lottery. Your diagnosis could be nurse-led or consultant-led; tests done at home or in the clinic; CT scan or MRI. None of which link patient outcomes with the care pathway; not a recipe for excellence. Meanwhile, a hundred miles away in Teeside, for exactly the same condition, the Trust had invested greatly in painstaking service and pathway redesign. A small fortune and 18 months later, a beautiful and intricate pathway was produced. On laminated paper.

Why build a marketplace?

The UK has a wealth of world-leading institutions across clinical, academic and industry sectors. It is well recognised there are pockets of excellence and innovation all over the country. Our marketplace provides a platform to take best practice out of the filing cabinet, and shine a light on ‘what good looks like’. Those who want access to best in class pathways have a centralised and trusted place to do so, reducing procurement and service redesign costs, with implementation support from those who’ve been on the journey before them. Pathway sellers have a way to build revenue, recoup their investment in pathway design, and a platform as experts and thought leaders in their fields.

Marketplaces are a well-established model in many industries for opening up accessibility, allowing buyers easy access to proprietary goods and information and sellers a scalable mechanism to reach buyers at low cost. Whether eBay in the e-commerce space, the iTunes media library, or developer-specialist Atlassian Marketplace, marketplaces are here to stay. Even in the technology laggard market that is healthcare, the first murmurings of marketplaces can be heard. In the UK, cloudBuy, in partnership with NHS Shared Business Service, launched their eMarketplace for Clinical Commissioning Groups to provide services for individuals with a Personal Health Budget. Over in the USA, Apervita has been successful in democratising healthcare through their analytics and data marketplace and platform.

In a sharing and global economy, we are building a single online destination for providers and payers to find, compare and choose best in class care pathways. We love to run fast, but only to get somewhere else.